Living With ‘The OOZ’

Examining how personal experiences affect our understanding of art.

True Panther Sounds, © 2017

At the release of his sophomore album The OOZ, my exposure to King Krule was limited. I had listened to his debut 6 Feet Beneath the Moon a couple of times when it came out after hearing it discussed with great fervor by friends, but never explored beyond that. He was one of the sea of indie artists whose names I’d heard thrown around over the past few years while having only the vaguest idea of what his music even sounded like.

When a new King Krule record was announced in the middle of 2017, forums and publications were set ablaze with renewed passion for Archy Marshall’s main project, and I started to pay close attention. Months passed, singles (which I purposefully avoided) dropped, and The OOZ was released on October 13, or October 12 at 9 PM for me in California. Late that Thursday night, seeing that it was nineteen songs and sixty-six minutes, I decided I’d listen to it in full at some point in the next few days. I couldn’t, however, resist pressing play on the first song to get a taste of what I was in for.

Ambient room noise faded in, and brushed drums introduced opener “Biscuit Town.” Within seconds, a smile crept over my face. Archy’s voice danced between percussive spaces with the slightness and delivery of a jazz singer for a few measures, before the song’s off-kilter trip hop shuffle came in fully. I was caught off guard in the best way possible; I had no way to easily contextualize what I was hearing in relation to music I was familiar with — it was truly unique. And it was fun. Without realizing, I bobbed my head in time with what I was totally unsure was the actual rhythm, enjoying every second.

After listening to it a couple more times, I took my headphones off and went to bed. If that’s what this record sounds like, I thought as I drifted off, I couldn’t be more excited. I returned to “Biscuit Town” a few times on Friday and over the weekend, then finally sat down the following Tuesday to give The OOZ its first full spin.

King Krule Live, Getty / Scott Dudelson © 2018

Needless to say to anyone that’s heard the album, my expectations were more than mildly subverted. I was taken on a wild ride that left my mind swirling with fragments of post-punk, surf rock, blues, jazz, hip hop, and a dozen sounds in between. My first listen left me reeling, simultaneously frustrated, emotionally taxed, and deeply intrigued. It was impossible to center myself in any genre or feeling over the album’s hour runtime, and I was left feeling somewhat lost and harrowed by its unsettling emotional turmoil.

I couldn’t shake the sensation, however, that I had really liked what I heard. The OOZ resonated with an unknown, nocturnal corner of my psyche, creating an itch I didn’t know I had and scratching it in singular fashion. I knew immediately that it would require a few more listens before I was able to form any kind of complete opinion. I didn’t really know what to make of it, or when I would listen again. But I knew that I wanted more.

My initial frustration with The OOZ was based on an aspect that ended up being one of its main draws for me and one of its key pieces conceptually: the intentional obfuscation at its heart, and the total lack of cohesion that comes along with it.

There’s a moment during the album’s first act finale where that enigmatic haze truly sets in. At the fifty second mark of “Sublunary,” all remaining semblance of traditional musicality gives way to endless layers of gnarled, reverb-soaked saxophone squall. Rhythm is forgotten, save for the periodic refrain “I was made for / Sub-lun-ar-y, the last word segmented to the edge of oblivion like its utterer is choking on each syllable.

“Sublunary” is music as rocket launch footage — visibility is obliterated by an overwhelming blast of warmth that consumes everything and leaves behind a miles-high plume of smokey abstraction. It’s disorienting and overwhelming, the kind of song that most artists would leave on the cutting room floor out of fear and one that was certainly surprising to hear from a massively successful crossover act on album with an Urban Outfitters exclusive cassette.

Urban Outfitters © 2017

Following this oddball track, the three that follow are a blues song of dreary negative space interrupted by forlorn howls and a single lonesome guitar, a queasy trot located somewhere in the muck between lo-fi rock and jazz fusion, and a ruddy, uneasy post-punk barnburner about insomnia, sleep aids, and a doctor whose uncaring becomes malignant.

The music is drastically different on every song, with only Archy’s singular, unmistakable perspective and various shades of distress to act as common threads. A casual listener might come away feeling like the album is nothing more than a scattered mess, but its complete eschewal of cohesion is not only intentional — it’s the whole point. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces are carefully designed to fit together perfectly, only to create a shadowy, incongruous portrait of indeterminate form.

Though fragmentation is arguably The OOZ’ most important guiding principle, that truth and how it informs an understanding of the album eluded me at first. Only after many dedicated listens did I come to realize what was staring me in the face all along: It’s all about the gunk.

The OOZ left a very strong first impression on me, but I let it fall by the wayside for a time. It released during my high school senior year’s first semester, a time busy with AP classes and the kindling of a new romantic relationship, both of which consumed a great deal of time and took priority over ruminating on difficult music alone in my room. After my first encounter, I didn’t listen to it in full again for a solid two months. However, I did make my second acquisition from the album.

It started as many obsessions do, with a video popping up in my suggested sidebar on YouTube in early November, a couple weeks after my initial listen. I remembered liking the song in question but mostly forgot how it sounded, so I clicked on “Dum Surfer”’s music video out of curiosity — and was quickly immersed, transported to an undead bar at the graveyard shift.

“Dum Surfer” is among the most captivating songs I’ve heard in my life, though nailing down what makes it so is an undertaking all its own. One moment you might be sure it’s the beachy riffs and drum groove, the next you’ll be dead-set on the juxtaposition between said elements and the darkness of the vocals, lyrics, and saxophone, the next you’ll decide it must be the murky low end that seeps through every layer of the mix to fashion a surreal hypnosis. I wasn’t sure of which it was at the time; but again, I knew immediately and above all else that I really liked it.

From the “Dum Surfer” music video, True Panther Sounds © 2017

The song was also exactly what I needed emotionally at the time I heard it. Along with academic stress, my imminent graduation from high school brought on some serious existential unrest. I questioned what would happen afterwards, where I would go to college, what would become of my relationships, what I wanted to do with my life. The dually exciting and terrifying realities that face all seniors — chiefly that when high school ends, safety nets and training wheels go away and you’re on your own for the first time — were with me every moment of every day, making it a challenge to get quiet time mentally. And I found a getaway in “Dum Surfer.”

The uncertainty never left, but if I blasted the angst-filled surf rock song loud enough, I could manage. It helped me to embrace the mania and chaos, to shrug and say “fuck it” to looming adulthood — and it was downright fantastic purely on musical merits. Through ad nauseam repetitions of one song, King Krule became one of my favorite artists, as well as my confidant and guide in a trying time.

In a number of interviews preceding the release of The OOZ, Archy Marshall often brought up “the gunk.” He defined it as the things that humans create passively, our hair, our fingernails, the oils that build up in our pores, the natural consequences of being alive that we have to take care of to stay “clean.” The gunk was on his mind constantly throughout the album’s creative process, to the point where he often repeated the borderline mantra “It’s all about the gunk” in those interviews. Conceptuality is a hard thing to assign to music as obfuscatory as The OOZ, but it’s ostensibly an album about the gunk.

On a sonic level, it’s all clogged with sonic gunk. This is most noticeable in the low end; from start to finish it hits hard, but it’s not compressed or punchy as would be expected from a commercial album in 2017. It would then be easy to scan it as smooth, but a detailed listen reveals it to be jagged around the edges, contributing to a sickly quality that pervades the entire experience. Additional sounds like saxophones and synths are undeniably queasy as well, adding to the music of The OOZ feeling distinctly visceral and bodily, echoing Archy’s concerns with our physical existence.

“King Krule: The Wizard of Ooz,” Pitchfork © 2017

Beneath what Archy said overtly, there’s also a clear, strongly felt subtext of mental gunk, of the negative thoughts that come about and build up without our input, the kind that contribute to the jaded pessimism of world-weary souls. The harrowing thematic disorganization in the lyrics is intentional, coming at listeners in much the same way as dark thoughts intrude without permission. The only songs which were initially confusing sore spots were ones where that queasiness is taken into overdrive, like “A Slide In” and “Emergency Blimp.” They’re still off-putting to this day, but make a lot more sense when taking both the physical and mental gunk into account.

It also figures heavily into the central obfuscation I mentioned earlier. Appearing aggressively disjointed from a surface level reading, that sensation has purpose and meaning, reflecting the often disorganized ways our bodies and minds function. Lyrical themes and sonic palettes swirl constantly like cells in the bloodstream. Like thoughts in the restless brain, before any one theme can be processed, the next comes careening in and takes center stage.

These realizations about gunk came a couple months into my time with the album and sparked a larger epiphany that informed my understanding even further in the coming months: when listening to and thinking about The OOZ, attempting to center yourself in typical notions of what an album should sound like, how it should be sequenced, or the breadth of what it should cover is a disservice to your enjoyment and to the artistry on display. Nowhere near traditional, it serves as a journey through the body, mind, and memories of a supremely tormented and talented individual, whose own internal forces create a carnivalesque logic like no other.

I spent most of November and December (very good months, it should be noted) listening to “Dum Surfer” numerous times a day and reminding myself nearly as often that I needed to go back and revisit the album in full at some point. That finally happened in mid-January of 2018. On second and third listens which happened immediately back to back, The OOZ drew me in thoroughly. The purpose behind the seemingly obtuse sequencing and the constant genre hopping still evaded me, but I became enamored with two particular aspects of the album.

Firstly, I fell in love with its sound. It’s difficult to explain the unique sonic qualities of The OOZ; though completely auditory, it’s as if there’s a layer of film grain over the experience. From the pervasive bass I touched on previously, to the thunderous, thudding drums, full-blooded guitars, and Archy’s inimitable vocals, listening to the music is like viewing a film of someone’s memories on an old CRT television in the corner of a smoke-filled dive bar. From dreamy ambient interludes to searing post-punk, it’s all gorgeously warm, hazy, and blurry in the best possible way.

Secondly, I found comfort, albeit commiseratory, in the album’s overwhelming desolation. Between my first and second listens to The OOZ, things in my head got a bit more complicated. The same uncertainties plagued me as before, but I had steadily progressed from denial to depression. I was sad that high school was ending, sad that I’d likely never see many good friends again. I felt an immense sense of looming finality that kept me pretty low most days.

12/31/17

On top of that, my new romantic relationship had gotten difficult. After finally becoming official in late December, things were great — briefly. The problem was that shortly after we became a formal couple, I subconsciously saw it as the achieving of a goal, neglecting to remember that no relationship is perfect, that maintaining a steady one takes just as much work as starting it, and that being a good significant other requires a lot more than simply loving someone. Admittedly, my behavior slipped to frequent carelessness, and our relationship suffered as a result. Of course, I didn’t understand this at the time, so all I saw was the souring of something I thought was supposed to be perfect and that I didn’t know how to fix.

January and February 2018 constituted my main time with The OOZ. It was my go-to during that blue period, when I was swallowed in an inescapable blend of ennui and romantic frustration.

The holistic experience of the album was key to my enjoyment, but another song did jump out and get stuck in my craw.

Out of nowhere, “Logos” began to appear in my head frequently. The song is minimal, composed of a lightly discordant keyboard melody, plinking drum machines, and embellishments of downcast guitar and saxophone on the chorus. Archy offers his most despondent vocal performance on the entire album, spoken word delivery recounting family life in London’s seedy underbelly and passing details of a past love. The song nearly dissolves, before organic drums rein in a full band jam on the outro. Components that evoke elevator music are twisted to the edge of recognizability and imbued with overwhelming liminality.

The state I was in at this time was characterized more than anything by helplessness. The oncoming end of high school I so feared was unavoidable, and I was unable to see how I could possibly work on the problems plaguing my relationship. I would often come home from school and lie unmoving for hours at a time, using The OOZ in an attempt to numb my aching mind. “Logos” in particular, with its gloomy depression, provided the exact ego obliteration I was looking for.

From the “Logos” music video, True Panther Sounds © 2019

I remember one day in late January, doing homework in the school library with her, where I tried to show my girlfriend The OOZ. Although she did her best to spare my feelings, I could tell a few songs in that she just wasn’t enjoying it. Funny as it is in retrospect, I took substantial offense at her rejection of what I felt to be not only a fantastic work of music, but an important piece of myself. I bonded with The OOZ on a deep emotional level, one that I rarely reach with music.

By the time Super Bowl Sunday arrived, our problems had not healed. My family went over to my girlfriends’ house to watch the game, the night took multiple sharp turns for the worse, and I left her house feeling dejected and uncertain about our relationship and my future. After trying for a fruitless hour to let sleep take me, I did the only thing that felt right: I got in my car, turned on The OOZ, and headed for the coast.

As I drove through the night with the album cranked, I wished dearly that I could just keep going and going and never come back. Archy’s voice resonated around my vehicle, and I imagined running away forever, letting my problems slip away like waves receding down the shoreline, absorbed into the ocean of soundscapes. I have rarely been more lost than I was in that moment, but The OOZ was somehow both my escape and my anchor.

Eventually I calmed down, made my way home, and fell asleep.

If it hasn’t become clear by this point, The OOZ is not a particularly uplifting album. In the span of years after his debut, Archy was chased by the ghosts of inescapable dread and a serious romantic relationship turned sour, and those same specters manifest in the music and lyrics. Be it the ragged beseeching of a scorned love on “Slush Puppy,” the lovelorn ache of the insomniac “Czech One,” or the title track’s bellowed finale, nearly every song captures its own particular breed of angst, rendering in lurid, rusty colors the impassioned depressions of half a decade submerged in gunk.

It’s not as though 100% of the runtime is doom and gloom; calling them “bright spots” would be disingenuous to the darkness and aggression of songs like “Dum Surfer” and the perverse beach rock of “Vidual,” but they do pull the clouds back briefly — albeit not without their own distinct senses of angst in commune with more sprightly atmospheres. Still, the experience in its totality is something of an emotional sucker punch that tosses and turns the listener about various shades of sadness, rage, and desolation. Archy sifts through the silt of his psyche, scattered pieces of a broken childhood and failed connections, years on and often past the edge of psychosis swirled around in a blood-chilling wind.

King Krule at Webster Hall, One Block Down © 2013

Sound figures into this equation as well. The sonic landscapes are panoramic and detailed, but they’re all full to bursting with feeling, manifesting in as many shades as there are communicated emotions in the lyrics. The bassy, frayed edges of cavernous “Cadet Limbo” threaten to bleed out for its entirety, while fragmentary dream passages are illuminated softly by the instrumental effects slathered onto the canvas of “Bermondsey Bosom (Left).” And on “Dum Surfer,” a tense romp is soundtracked perfectly by a crowded instrumental that flirts with cacophony but stays squarely in rugged satisfaction.

Anguish reaches its peak at two points, one at the album’s entrance and one at the exit. “The Locomotive” documents wee hours spent in isolation, Archy haunted by the announcement of late arriving trains and cracks in the dam of his stability. And his ruminations on gunk explode in a fury of warped blues basslines and relentless drums on “Half Man Half Shark,” whose manic refrain imagines the physical form he’s trapped in being so foreign and repulsive as a twisted man-shark mutant.

This all makes The OOZ sound like a real slog brought to the point of un-listenability by sheer magnitude of negativity. But not only do the variety of sounds and the quality of the music make it enjoyable and more than worthwhile, it’s not all so bad.

Because oddly enough, despite the stinging intensity, The OOZ actually ends on quite a redemptive note.

As February brought March and March turned to April, I began to spend less time with The OOZ as the external factors that made it a mainstay in my rotation faded or ceased wholesale.

College decision season came, and with it my fear of graduation’s finality was abated in a major way. The sadness of permanently leaving the sight of so many great memories and the potential loss of so many friends remained, but the initial anxiety was replaced with excitement. I knew where I would (most likely) be spending the next four years, what I would be studying. The world was open in front of me, and instead of feeling anxiously pushed forward, I was moving towards it with a smile on my face.

3/28/18

The rain cloud hanging over my relationship finally passed. Through care and communication, I learned how to be a better partner and we were able to work past the issues that so plagued us earlier in the year. Things weren’t perfect, but they were definitely very good. Spring was a time characterized by happy, breezy days spent with people I loved and largely in a good mood. So it happened that I felt less drawn to music as dark as The OOZ.

But as most discoveries these days happen, one day the King Krule Tiny Desk Concert popped up in my recommended feed on YouTube. Curious to see how songs from one of my favorite albums would sound live, especially since I had tickets to see him in concert later in the month of April, I clicked it with excited curiosity, wondering how I hadn’t heard of or stumbled upon it until now.

For those who haven’t seen it (I really think anyone even remotely interested should), it’s a great performance, with the definite highlight being “Midnight 01 (Deep Sea Diver).” Admittedly, the last four songs of the The OOZ were the ones I was least familiar with, and hearing “Deep Sea Diver” done so well in the performance made me want to revisit it. To my pleasant surprise, it was a much better song than I remembered.

King Krule’s Tiny Desk Concert, NPR © 2017

“Deep Sea Diver” is something of an outlier within the album, a lilting jazz song dropped at the tail end of a record that largely comprises various bloodred shades of rock and punk. It’s not particularly concerned with structure, moving through various passages with the same musical motifs and unaffected panache; it’s not concerned with a whole lot, really. After a dark and stormy album, the penultimate tracks feels refreshingly relaxed. Vestiges of grief still hang in the air — lines like “Why’d you leave me? Because of my depression? / You used to complete me but I guess I learnt a lesson” — but the song is ultimately content. It uses the album’s typical woozy palette of sounds, but here they feel genuinely warm: less like a dying breath, more like the sun.

This warmth was more in tune with what I was listening to at the time, and “Deep Sea Diver” became my next acquisition from the album. It began to soundtrack my morning drives to school, my mid-evening neighborhood strolls, the calm solitary moments shortly after getting into bed and before sleep.

I was happy to have rediscovered the song, but it didn’t solve the major lingering question I still had about The OOZ: What about that ending?

The OOZ’s structure is loose and morphing in terms of cohesion and sequencing, but the album has a distinct beginning, middle, and end. I was in love with the first two suites from the moment I heard them, but the last left me a little confused. On my first few listens I simply shrugged at it and wasn’t totally sure what I thought, but as I got more into the album, I became increasingly confounded at what I felt to be some rather baffling choices in the last five songs.

In sequence, “Half Man Half Shark” is the furious climax, and “The Cadet Leaps” begins a four-song denouement completed by the title track, “Deep Sea Diver,” and closer “La Lune.” The only problem in my head was that “The Cadet Leaps” is a perfect closer.

I struggled with this for a long time; it felt like a gorgeous fulfillment of the ongoing sub-narrative of Archy looking to the night sky, both seeing his struggles play out on cosmic scale greater than himself, and dancing through the cosmos to escape the stark viscera of his reality. The song is a blissed-out conclusion to this story, where the titular cadet leaps forever away into the night, saying goodbye to all he’s known and starting anew. Initially, I couldn’t imagine a better closer.

Thunder Bay, Ontario, @oozskyphotos on Instagram

After thinking this for a while, I became even more confused upon realizing that “The Ooz” is arguably an even better closer. Aside from it being the title track, it too feels like a perfect summation and send-off for the themes and struggles captured within the album. The somber guitar melody holds a strong tone of resolve, while the lyrics conclusively accept the heartbreak and personal damage he’s been grappling with for the album’s duration. It’s a moment of striking catharsis where our protagonist finally lets go, enduring the brutality of accepting unfortunate realities in order to move forward. Again, it felt to me like the perfect end to a near-perfect album.

And after these two fantastic potential closers, the last two songs felt bafflingly out of place. Though after a time I grew to love “Deep Sea Diver,” it still felt wrong to place it after those preceding tracks. And the biggest head scratcher of all was the actual closer “La Lune.” Charming as its vocal melody is, I saw it as a vague, rather directionless song, not necessarily my least favorite but easily my least listened of the bunch. As much as I adored the album, the sequencing of the final suite of tracks felt like a misstep, the only blemish on an otherwise transcendent experience. The same thought rang through my head each time I listened.

Why on earth would he put “The Cadet Leaps” before “The Ooz,” and “The Ooz” before two more, less deserving songs? Why the hell does the album end with “La Lune”?

Spring passed with a pleasant sigh. It finally came time for graduation in June, but not before school-organized “Senior Week” events to keep us busy in the week after our finals and before the big day. For the first of these, they rented out a couple of auditoriums at our local theater and screened a movie free of charge. After a positively riveting ninety minutes of Grown Ups, we went back to the school gym to get our caps and gowns before being dismissed for the day.

It was a perfect California day: I joined a group of my good friends for lunch at In-N-Out and then headed to the beach. We drove around for a while on the way, picking up more friends and enjoying the early June weather, windows down and music a hair past deafening. I couldn’t help but notice a slight melancholy tugging at the gathering, but I pushed it aside as we made our way down the coast.

Upon arriving at the beach, some of the group split off with surfboards, some lay on towels and worked on their tans, and I ended up heading for the water with one other member of the group. We hung around for a while, cracking jokes and swimming through waves, and I felt that slight melancholy tugging again. I turned to my friend and asked how he was feeling about everything, graduation, friends leaving, the whole nine yards. He looked back my way, and gave the only appropriate answer for the scenario facing us.

“Weird.”

The moment passed, the next two hours just as quickly. It was a pleasant blur, people going in and out of the water, throwing a football on the beach, getting unbelievably sunburnt, every forming memory bathed in the day-glo of mid-afternoon sun. Eventually more friends arrived, one of them with a speaker playing typical California beach fare. Good times rolled for another hour or two, and the day started to wind down. There were three of us sitting on the sand, me, another friend, and the one with the speaker. Melancholy arrived once more as we looked out at the water, sun ever approaching the horizon.

I thought about everything that had led me to that exact moment, the friendships made and ended, connections forged and shattered, love felt and faded, classes attended and skipped, the sum total of my experience for eighteen years of predominantly good life. I knew that no matter what, I was closing the door on a formative era. It came with immense excitement, but I couldn’t help feeling nostalgic for days past, and wistful that they were passing for good. Feeling an odd tingle on the edge of my emotional periphery that I still can’t explain, I asked my DJ-ing friend to play “La Lune.”

The song’s opening rain sounds faded and Archy’s deftly delivered vocals and guitar came into full focus. These are the only three elements to speak of, but there was a subtle beauty I had never noticed in the interacting textures, and a wistfulness in the vocals that felt reminiscent of my own. It’s impossible to depict the magic of “La Lune” on paper, but listening to it on that beach, I became transfixed.

8/18/19, The most analogous personal photo I could find for this section

Staring out at the lowering sun with the sound of water falling onto sand and reverb-drenched guitar echoing into my ears, I realized how things never really end as you expect them too. We’re brought up consuming media that depicts relationships and eras ending with satisfying, definite conclusions. Eventually, we’re told, it all comes into focus, and you’re able to realize the meaning behind everything before tying events up into a neat little package and moving along with your life. Whether it’s a happy or sad ending, you at least feel like you gained something. We’re taught subconsciously that endings are productive and make sense. We know that the movies and television shows and books aren’t part of our real life, but we take those lessons to heart without realizing and our expectations are molded as such.

I didn’t know a whole lot about what was going to happen in the coming months, let alone the coming years. I didn’t know who my friends would be, if I would be happy in my new life, if my chosen career path would prove fruitful. The ending of my era didn’t have a satisfying sense of finality, instead feeling rather awkward and uncertain.

But I realized then that this was completely okay — things don’t need a neat ending. The sadness I felt over the prospect of losing friends became almost comforting, as I realized it meant that the connections I had made were worth caring about. My grief over leaving high school meant that it had been a great time, one I could always remember fondly. There were plenty of questions left on my mind that day, but I realized I didn’t need to be afraid of any one staying unanswered. Life was going to continue, and I was going to be okay. For those solitary few minutes, I allowed these realizations to wash over me, and felt more Okay about it all than I had in months.

Less significantly, I realized that “La Lune” is an incredible song and downright flawless closer to The OOZ. Even if there are songs that fit the traditional bill of a conclusion more neatly, no other song could have possibly been more appropriate for the album. After reaching a point of catharsis on the title track and reckoning with it on “Deep Sea Diver,” “La Lune” is the moment where Archy truly accepts everything that happened leading to the creation of his magnum opus, acknowledging that sometimes moving forward without all the answers is the most essential and powerful thing of all.

The song ended and I came back down to earth, feeling no more in control but a lot better. And three days later, I walked across a stage and grabbed my diploma.

Nearly a year and a half later, everything good and bad I went through in those months is still embedded in the album, but none of it is concerning or disturbing in the slightest. The good memories are just that, ephemera to look back on and smile, and the bad memories are a reminder that even at the lowest points, things will always turn around and get better.

My perception of The OOZ changed drastically as my experiences did, and my growth as a person happened alongside and helped me to understand its tangled threads. I’ll always have questions about it, but they’re inevitable with a work so dense. And I don’t feel like spending too much time trying to solve them; indeed, as with the many new challenges that face me along life’s continuing path, I find that answers often come when I stop looking for them.

King Krule @ The Observatory, San Diego, CA 4/20/18

A lot has changed since my graduation. I broke up with my girlfriend, but she’s still one of my best friends. I moved to New York City for college, made new friends, and fell in love with my new environment. After an overall stellar freshman year, I spent the summer at home with the same friends from that day on the beach, making new memories with them that will inevitably be captured in the music I was spinning for those three wonderful months. Though the frequency with which I listen to The OOZ has dropped dramatically, it’s become even more a favorite, standing presently among my top handful of albums ever.

When I hear it now, halfway through my fall semester as a sophomore in college, I hear all of this. Important pieces of my self are stored in the album, and while I’m still making new memories with it today, being struck by new discoveries and falling deeper in love with every listen, it remains a time capsule for a very specific, valuable moment of my life. I truly feel as though I didn’t just listen to The OOZ — I lived with it.

two-stepping through banality

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